Wed, 19 Feb 2020

Four workers for a French religious charity in Iraq have gone missing, their organization reports.

SOS Chretiens d'Orien (Christians of the Middle East) on January 24 said three French nationals and one Iraqi working for the French nongovernmental organization were missing in the capital, Baghdad.

SOS Chretiens d'Orient has been working to help persecuted Christians in Iraq since 2014 when Islamic State (IS) extremists overran Mosul, displacing tens of thousands of minority Christians and Yazidis. It is active in the Iraqi Kurdish capital, Irbil, where many Christians fled.

The organization said there was no indication that ransom money had been demanded.

The organization's director, Benjamin Blanchard, told a Paris news conference that the missing workers were in Baghdad 'to renew their visas and register the association with Iraqi authorities.'

The French Foreign Ministry has been informed of the situation and said it was trying to obtain more information.

The incident comes amid rising tensions between Iran and the United States in the region following the targeted killing of a top Iranian military commander near Baghdad and subsequent anti-U.S. protests in Iraq.

Based on reporting by Reuters, AFP, and AP

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036

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